A visit to Lisbon is one which you can expect to be rich with a multitude of things to see and do! We dare say that you’ll much more to do than actual time to do it in. That said, how can you go wrong with investing a whole part of a day to check out the majesty of Belém.
Situated at around 6 km from the more well-known Lisbon historic downtown — which has Chiado, Rossio or Commerce Square — it’s an experience that begins with the ride there itself. The ever-reliable Lisbon Metro does not reach this part of the city, which means that you can go via car, taxi, train or our recommendation: tram. The historic Lisbon trams regularly depart towards Belém and will provide you with a scenic, Instagrammable and memorable trip — if a tad more morose than the other alternatives.
When there, you’ll find yourself in a mostly green and monument-laden area, with far-reaching views to the Tagus River. From the central park area you can see the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower — this one is a fixture of practically every tourism video ever made about Portugal — along with the magnificent scenery of the Tagus riverside area, with the Belém Cultural Centre just off into the distance.
Belém is also home to the the world-renowned Pastéis de Belém Factory. Similar in concept to Lisbon’s famed custard tart, these treats have a distinct taste and composition that is heavily protected. And we mean that in the most literal sense of the word, since the bakers have to sign non-disclosure agreements when receiving access to the original recipe!
Lines for this historic spot are heavy, but well worth the wait. While the tiled interior of the shop is a sight to behold, our highest recommendation is that you take your pastries to go and eat them on the Belém Garden’s park benches, just across the street. Not a bad way to close out an afternoon of sightseeing, right?
There’s a lot more to see and do in the area, including an unparalleled cultural offer which features some of the city’s best exhibits as well as an unmatched blend of traditional buildings and fantastically modern constructions (MAAT, anyone?).
Stay tuned for more tips on Belém! We can’t help ourselves, we really love this part of town!